Officer Anthony Bueno, an 11-year veteran, remains on the job pending an investigation.
Bueno is accused of slashing a homeless San Diego couple’s tent in December. Homeless San Diegan Malia Mason said the police officer, who was upset she had put up a tent during a rainy night, used a knife to slash her tent and cords.
“He was slicing as I climbed out and the knife came within inches of my face,” said Mason in an interview in December.
Homeless advocate David Ross said the tent-slashing incident was one of five similar incidents documented against the officer during a two-week span in November.”It’s shocking and disappointing,” said Ross.
10News learned Bueno was arrested in 2007 on four counts of misdemeanor battery on a fellow police officer while on duty. Few details of the incident are known, but in that case, Bueno pleaded no contest to a lesser charge and was allowed to stay on the force.
Last year, Bueno was on the scene of the death of a homeless man in East Village. Another homeless man who is accused of resisting arrest said Bueno was “joking and speaking very disrespectfully” about the deceased man and provoked the incident.
Ross said Bueno should be removed from the streets.”Him being on the streets invites similar behavior and reflects very poorly on the police department,” said Ross. “It’s disappointing because the police department, including the homeless outreach team, has been trying very hard. I’m not here to indict the entire department.”
10News brought Ross’ demand to Boyd Long, the assistant police chief. When asked why Bueno was not taken off the streets, Long replied, “We haven’t reached the conclusion we need to pull the officer out of the field. We do take these accusations very seriously.”
10News was told the primary reason for keeping Bueno active was because several witness statements and surveillance video cast doubt on Mason’s version of events.
“I don’t believe that. Each of the interviews I conducted were consistent. They were scared of this officer,” said Ross.
Though the tent-slashing investigation should be wrapped up soon, a second internal probe is possible into the accusations that Bueno was making fun of a deceased homeless man.
Meanwhile, a judge will soon decide if the details that 10News uncovered will be allowed as evidence in the trial of the homeless man accused of resisting arrest.